Happy Monday, friends! My head is still spinning a bit from a whirlwind weekend in Chicago. Are any of you from there? I wish I could say I had more time to explore the city, but my time was pretty work focused. It was fun work, though! I’m hoping to share more on that in this week’s Biz Notes.

When I arrived home yesterday, I was craving some serious down time. After a nap and some time on the couch catching up on mindless TV, I decided it was high time to “plant” my herbs. In the past I’ve purchased seeds and grown the herbs myself, but since I got a bit behind schedule this year, I bought herbs that had already sprouted at the farmer’s market and planted those. I chose basil, flat leaf parsley, and cilantro for my herb box since I use those most in my cooking during the summer months. Even though I would hardly call getting my herbs set up “gardening,” it was so relaxing to park myself on our sunny patio and get my hands a little dirty. Just looking at these guys makes me happy. I’m really eager to pick up some more pots and plants to brighten up our patio even more for spring and summer. The only thing I’m struggling with right now is my cilantro. I’ve read it’s hard to maintain/grow. Have any of you struggled with that? Any tips would be much appreciated!

Hope your week is off to a great start.

Last week I started a new series which centers around my work life. Since I now work for myself and this whole business owner/entrepreneur thing pretty much occupies my mind all of the time, this series felt like a natural extension of Channeling Contessa.

This week I want to touch on work/ life separation, not to be confused with work/life balance. People talk about balancing their work and personal life all the time, but what if you have trouble separating the two?  Perhaps the phrases are somewhat synonymous, but lately I’ve really struggled with drawing a dividing line between my work and my personal life. Do you ever feel that way? I often feel like all my time bleeds together, which makes it very hard for my work mind to shut off.

I realize that because I have my own business, having a completely separate personal and professional life will never really be possible- and truthfully, I don’t really want that. I mean, I chose this path so that I would be doing something that I love, something that incorporated my personal interests- so naturally my work is going to overlap with my person life. But how do you mentally separate work related  stuff when it is so heavily intertwined with your personal life, so you don’t feel like you’re working all the time?

For me, having a separate work space is huge. I do love working from home in the morning, but if I don’t go out and work elsewhere, it feels like there’s zero structure to my day and I never truly feel “done” for the day (I’m still forcing myself to accept this fact- it can be really tempting to stay at home!). I also try to be as disciplined as possible about not checking email late in the evening on weekdays or on weekends. I struggle with the fact that it’s only me. Every communication can feel like a direct reflection of the quality of my business, and so I should be answering emails right away, all the time… right? I know, deep down, that’s wrong, but I still have to work pretty hard to put that into practice. And lastly, even though I feel I’m struggling specifically with with work/life separation, making a point of keeping my work/life balance in check helps. Making an effort to go to the gym regularly, take time to make dinner, read and spend time with friends keeps my mind busy with other stuff-meaning I’m not thinking so much about work.

It’s a constant struggle, but one of the biggest hurdles was realizing this (like everything else in my new work life), is going to take more time than I anticipated.  Patience, where are you??

Do you ever struggle with work/life separation? Whether you work for yourself or not, I’d love to hear your ideas and tactics for maintaining balance and separation!

Hello! I have to admit, I’m still brimming with excitement over the new design. It truly feels like such a fresh new start, pretty optimal timing for spring I suppose. I’ll stop talking about the new look though and get on to telling you about this incredible ice cream, but I did want to mention one quick thing- we’re still working on the “You might also like” links at the bottom of each post, hence the reason you don’t see anything there. So hold tight, it’s coming! Lastly, I’m facing a few issues with the sharing buttons when you actually open a post so hopefully that will be sorted out soon, too.

Now, on to ice cream. Since purchasing this book I’ve been utterly obsessed with making ice cream at home. After trying my hand at vanilla bean, I was ready to move to the next level- mix something in. Brandon was the brilliant mind behind trying Cookies and Cream and once he said out loud, I couldn’t think of a better flavor. The best part about making this specific ice cream at home is you can add as many oreos as you would like. Let’s just say, I was very generous with the oreos. Enjoy!

Oreo Lover’s Cookies and Cream Ice Cream adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home
Makes about 1 quart

The method outlined below provides the basic recipe for Jeni’s ice cream base. Feel free to add any mix ins or cookies you like!

  • 2 cups whole milk (I used organic)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I used organic)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 row of Oreo cookies from the package broken into large chunks

Prep: Make sure the canister of your ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours before making the ice cream. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the corn starch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Place the cream cheese in a medium size bowl (large enough to whisk together all the liquid later on). Fill a large bowl with ice- that will later become the ice bath.

Cook: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a roiling boil over medium high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the corn starch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heat proof spatula, until slightly thickened- about  1 minute. Remove from heat.

Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, stirring well to make sure there are no lumps. Once combined, pour the mixture into a ziploc bag and submerge in the ice. Add water to the ice to create an ice bath. Let chill until the mixture is very cold- about 1 hour.

Freeze: Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and turn on your machine. Let it run for about 25 minutes, until the ice cream is thick and creamy. Once spun, pack the ice cream into a tupperware container, mixing in the oreos as you go. Press a piece of parchment paper directly against the top and seal with an air tight lid. Place in the freezer for at least four hours or overnight if possible.

Hello! Welcome welcome welcome to the new Channeling Contessa!!! I am so excited this day has finally come and I can share the new site with you all. Let me tell you, it’s been a long time in the works. I have the amazing Katelyn from Smitten Blog Designs to thank for transforming the ideas in my head into an actual blog. We’re still working out a few kinks so bear with me across the next few days.  But let me give you a little tour!

Recipe Index: On the nav bar at the top you’ll see a link for the new Recipe Index! I am so excited about this. For months I’ve been longing for a better way to organize and navigate my recipes, and this is just that. All my dishes have been broken down into categories, and each individual dish is listed so you can easily browse.

Delicious Finds: On the right hand side you’ll see “Delicious Finds.” Beyond the recipe index, I wanted a section dedicated to highlighting specific CC recipes- ones from previous years that feature seasonal ingredients, or great dishes that have perhaps gotten a little buried. I’ll be changing those up each month.

CC Life & Home: While Channeling Contessa is primarily a food blog, since I started it, it’s slowly grown and expanded into other areas, namely my home and my life. I wanted things to be a organized as possible in the new space, so I’ve pulled out those posts and am now listing them in their own section. I also hope to grow this section, specifically in the area of home decorating and organization- so stay tuned for that too.

Biz Notes: Last week I introduced a new series focused on sharing snippets of my work life, now that I run my own business. I’ve dedicated a specific section to that as well, as it’s an area I foresee growing immensely across the next few months.

Social Media: My new bright social media icons are hard to miss at the top, but what I’m even more excited about is the matching share icons at the bottom of each post! Aren’t they darling? They might be favorite thing about the whole space. Now it’s super easy to share anything and everything on CC.

I think that about covers it for now! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The new set up is so inspiring, I can’t wait to share lots of big beautiful photographs of my food, home, and life. I’ll be back tomorrow with the recipe for the delicious ice cream you see pictured above- have a great night!


I could not be happier it’s Friday! This week started out on a sick note and then quickly transitioned to all my energy being focused on catching up on work. That combined with working most of last weekend has left me a little burnt out, so I’m thrilled to kick off my weekend a little early and be taking Friday off! Aaah… feels like such a treat. What makes it even better is that I have something super fun planned. After doing a little lounging and reading this morning I’m headed to a Biz Ladies Lunch at the Design Sponge offices in Brooklyn. I’m so excited to meet Grace, the founder of Design Sponge, as well as a bunch of women that work for themselves in the NYC area. It’s a pot luck, so the noodle salad you see pictured here is what I’m bringing with me.

A few things on this salad- yes, there are quite a few ingredients. But I assure you, they are all completely worth it! The flavors in this dish are downright addictive- Brandon and I have literally been eating it in various forms (once as a salad, once as a noodle salad) since Wednesday. It’s also ideal for entertaining because all the ingredients can be prepped the day before and then tossed together a half hour or so before serving. It’s best served a little cool or at room temp.You must add this dish to your spring/summer repertoire.

And with that I’m off! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, with lots of time outside. Oh, and, the blog will be down a bit this weekend as I work on some things on the back end so thanks for your patience. If all goes according to plan I’ll have something very exciting to reveal on Monday… see you then!

Thai Beef and Noodle Salad inspired by Shutterbean and Camille Styles
Makes 4-5 entrée portions

For the salad (Note: You can swamp out the noodles and serve with two heads of torn romain lettuce, just use a bit less dressing.)

  • 1 lb linguine (or any fine noodle)
  • 1/2 pound skirt steak
  • big bunches of cilantro, mint, and basil roughly chopped (should equal about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 carrots peeled and shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 an English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange) thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cute in half
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts
  • Steak marinade: 2 cloves garlic crush, 1 T fish sauce, 2 T soy sauce, and 1 T sugar

For the dressing:

  • 2 T and 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 T and 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 3 tsp Sriracha
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 4 T peeled, minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)

Marinate the Steak: Place the steak in a large Ziploc freezer bag, add in steak marinade ingredients. Shake bag around and massage steak a bit to mix everything together. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to cook, but up to 1 day- the longer it marinates, the better. Remove from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking to bring to room temp.

Cook the pasta until al denté (about 8 minutes), drain and toss with a little vegetable oil. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed frying pan over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Once heated place the steak in the pan and cook for 4 1/2 minutes on each side. While the steak is cooking, mix together ingredients for the dressing. Once the steak has finished cooking, place it on a plate, cover it in tin foil, and let it rest while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Place the noodles, vegetables, and herbs in a large bowl. After the steak has rested, thinly slice it against the grain and add two thirds of it to the salad. Pour in the dressing and toss well to combine. Place the noodles on a large platter and top with the remaining steak and crushed peanuts.